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I am a baal teshuvah for over 3 years; all of my friends are secular. After becoming religious I lost a lot of the interests that my secular friends are into and hence have not much in common with them. Plus the stuff they talk about is usually inappropriate.

When I go to shul most people are outside my age range. Is having close friends a non-Jewish past time? Or are there places that one can frequent to develop strong relationships with fellow like-minded Jews?

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    Probably you should find a different Shul with people your age – Double AA Sep 4 '15 at 17:34
  • Hello and welcome to the site! Hopefully you will be successful in your quest. Consider registering your account to unlock more features of the site. Hope to see you around. – mevaqesh Sep 4 '15 at 18:03
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    While we don't normally request people's location on this site, the answer to this question might depend greatly on where you live. Someone living in Chattanooga might have to work a little harder to find frum friends than someone living in Brooklyn. – Daniel Sep 4 '15 at 19:24
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The above answer is excellent. One thing many shuls provide are shiurim (classes) on various subjects, and this another excellent way to meet a friendly group of people.

If your neighborhood has a JCC, this can be another means to meet people. Besides classes, many have sports, art, or other activities.

Volunteering on a Jewish project is another way. My neighborhood has a Tomchei Shabbat which is a group that distributes food packages on Thursday nights to needy people so that they have food for Shabbat. They always need drivers, packers, arrangers, etc. and it is run by a large group of Jewish volunteers. See if your neighborhood has some type of organization like this where you can volunteer. You'll meet a great group of people and, I can tell you that there is nothing that makes you feel better than knowing you helped out someone else at the same time!

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Shul is a great place to develop long-lasting friendships, but try to find a shul that has people in your age group. If you live in a community where there aren't a lot of options, maybe look into relocating.

As for wondering if having close friends is a non-Jewish pastime... Yes and no. As frum jews, our lives are so caught up with raising our large families, working to support them, and trying to fit anything else into the limited time in between those. So spending time with friends is for the most part reserved for Shabbos when the hustle and bustle of life comes to a halt.

We are not anti-social, just usually too busy busy busy to have time for hanging out with friends. That doesn't mean you can't arrange a time to get together for coffee or something.

Good luck!

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    Not every frum person is married with a large family. – Daniel Sep 4 '15 at 19:27
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Their is an obligation to buy a friend

Mishna avot 1 6

Practically speaking you can go to a Bais medrish (learning place) or Bais knesses (shoul)

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    What are you suggesting that he should read the Mishnah as saying that he is obligated to pay someone to hang out with him? This is an incorrect application of this Mishnah. Kol tuv. – user3342 Sep 7 '15 at 15:49
  • @Maimonist No, just to spend money on him to love you friend does not equal to hang out. Bartenura ואפילו אתה צריך לקנותו בדמים יקרים ולפזר עליו ממון כדי שתקנה אהבתו, even if you need to by him will expensive (a lot of) money, you should spend money on him to buy his love. sefaria.org/Bartenura_on_Pirkei_Avot.1.7 – hazoriz Sep 7 '15 at 15:53
  • You're right, what was I thinking? The object of this Mishnah was obviously someone who was lonely and needed a "frum friend." Nevermind the fact that haver is Mishnaic and Talmudic terminology for a Torah scholar and therefore fits neatly with the first part of the Mishnah that says aseh lekha rav. – user3342 Sep 7 '15 at 17:37
  • @Maimonist To buy his love (maybe only a frum friend as you say haver (not an am ho'orets) :-)), but as the bartenura sais a teacher you can not buy he needs to teach for free. How do you understand kne licha haver? (70 faces to torah (haver please teach me for free)) – hazoriz Sep 7 '15 at 17:43
  • haver is meant in the lashon of havrutha, meaning someone who will challenge you and benefit you in your learning, like the relationship of rav to talmidh and of talmidh to rav. And qaneh means that one should make every effort to acquire such a study partner, even to the point of paying him or compensating him for his time. See the full comments of the Rambam there (PA 1:6 - Qafih edition). Kol tuv. – user3342 Sep 7 '15 at 18:11

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